Perceptual Encoding in Auditory Brainstem Responses: Effects of Stimulus Frequency Purpose A central question about auditory perception concerns how acoustic information is represented at different stages of processing. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) provides a potentially useful index of the earliest stages of this process. However, it is unclear how basic acoustic characteristics (e.g., differences in tones spanning a wide ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   September 05, 2018
Perceptual Encoding in Auditory Brainstem Responses: Effects of Stimulus Frequency
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alexandra R. Tabachnick
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark
  • Joseph C. Toscano
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Villanova University, PA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Alexandra Tabachnick: atabachnick@psych.udel.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Steve Aiken
    Editor: Steve Aiken×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   September 05, 2018
Perceptual Encoding in Auditory Brainstem Responses: Effects of Stimulus Frequency
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0486
History: Received January 2, 2018 , Revised April 20, 2018 , Accepted May 9, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0486
History: Received January 2, 2018; Revised April 20, 2018; Accepted May 9, 2018

Purpose A central question about auditory perception concerns how acoustic information is represented at different stages of processing. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) provides a potentially useful index of the earliest stages of this process. However, it is unclear how basic acoustic characteristics (e.g., differences in tones spanning a wide range of frequencies) are indexed by ABR components. This study addresses this by investigating how ABR amplitude and latency track stimulus frequency for tones ranging from 250 to 8000 Hz.

Method In a repeated-measures experimental design, listeners were presented with brief tones (250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz) in random order while electroencephalography was recorded. ABR latencies and amplitudes for Wave V (6–9 ms) and in the time window following the Wave V peak (labeled as Wave VI; 9–12 ms) were measured.

Results Wave V latency decreased with increasing frequency, replicating previous work. In addition, Waves V and VI amplitudes tracked differences in tone frequency, with a nonlinear response from 250 to 8000 Hz and a clear log-linear response to tones from 500 to 8000 Hz.

Conclusions Results demonstrate that the ABR provides a useful measure of early perceptual encoding for stimuli varying in frequency and that the tonotopic organization of the auditory system is preserved at this stage of processing for stimuli from 500 to 8000 Hz. Such a measure may serve as a useful clinical tool for evaluating a listener's ability to encode specific frequencies in sounds.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.6987422

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Villanova University Summer Research Grant to JCT. We would like to thank Brandon Henken for the assistance with stimulus creation, Emma Folk for the help with participant recruitment, and Nicole Johnson for the assistance with data collection.
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